Saudi Arabia to gain from women drivers

Saudi Arabia’s plan to end a ban on women drivers is expected to bring more women into the workforce and boost the economy.

Demand for taxis will fall, car sellers will enjoy a boost in sales, and thousands of women will become more self-sufficient and better able to work, according to predictions from Frost & Sullivan, a consultancy.

“Increasing mobility of Saudi women and their higher degree of integration into [the] country’s economy is expected to have a strong positive impact on the country’s economy including achieving higher levels of Saudisation of the labour force,” said the report by Vitali Bielski, senior consultant. Saudisation is a government scheme to increase the proportion of Saudi workers relative to expatriates.

According to a royal decree, Saudi Arabia will let women apply for driving licences from June 2018. There is speculation that women will still face various restrictions, such as being forbidden to drive at night or without the permission of their male guardians. Nevertheless, based on data from nearby Bahrain, Frost & Sullivan predicts that between 90,000 and 150,000 women a year will gain licences.

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